Friday, June 29, 2007

wat u tawkin?

i hope ppl rote welll............ not coz t wud make teh world better....... but it wud make my hedache go awy............ i get a ton of mail....... n affte tw lvls of spam-filtering....... i stilll hav 2 reply 2 a few messages.......... tis means that i must b abl 2 red those messages....... n understnd teh content............ easier said thn dun...........

i hav noticed tis trend over sum time now............ most mail 2 me from my peers is horrribly written........ it is eitehr missnig spelllnig....... or grammmer........ in a lot of cases....... it is missnig english altogetehr.......... it is written in a sms langauge....... usnig acronyms that i havnt heard of....... like gtg....... btwn....... cyl n gr8......... if n wsn't rnd 2 explain sum of tehse 2 me....... i'd probably go insane......... i luv gettnig mails from friends....... but i detest teh throbbnig headache um of tehse mails give me.......... i luv teh content....... but teh presentation is so abssmal that i dread gonig beyond teh subject line.......... combined with teh fact that my mail prgram gives teh entire screen 2 teh message....... tehre is no escape...........

what am i cmplainng so much about.............. here is a laundry list....... but im sure u can add 2 tehm........... i'm sure you....... dear reader....... get a lot of tehe mails as welll...........

  1. lots of dots.......... loook....... one dot is a sentence end.......... three make elllipses....... which indicates sum sort of suspension....... ro omission........... i luv pavbhaji....... chaat....... idlivada............................................. but i realy should stop........
  2. acronyms for simple things.......... waht is gtg.............. or gr8....... or 2 in teh middle of a sentence.............. if u r tooo lazy 2 type gr8 instead of gr8....... tehn perhps that word should b omitted...........
  3. capitlization........... wy.............. hw hrd is it 2 press on teh shift key.............. teh otehr exteme is writing in fulll caps.......... thxfullly....... most ppl dont do that.......... but stilll....... capitalization is a goood thing.......... it helps pulll out teh sntnces.......... it hlps telll burns n burns apart...........

i am not advocting ptting on a formal dress....... n taling like pizsy nglish nbility here.......... alll im askng for is 2 fllow teh rules....... ro atleast eough of tehm 2 mke teh langauge easy for teh reader........

affte alll....... if u words r important enough 2 b read....... tehn tehyre important enough 2 b written welll.......... a pooor wriing style suggests two things 2 me...........

  1. you do not think your readers time is valaudle........... writing pooorly says that you're willling 2 trade your readrs time for yours........... it takes sumone forever 2 read a pooorly writen msage....... n u think teh tradeoff is worth it..........
  2. u do not think your words r important enough 2 b read........... if u could not spend teh time writing tehm welll....... expressing your thoughts clearly....... tehn perhps your thoghts arent of value.............. your words r a reresenation of your thoughts..........

a friend of mine....... who runs a smll cmpany in bmby once comlained about how trrrible teh email writing skilll of teh currrent crop of gadautes was........... he was shocked that tehse were ppl with a technical training (he does sum coputer conultancy)....... but could ot rite a sngle email that could b read........... e said that even ppl wrking for him wrot such awful messages....... that he ws ashamed 2 let tehm looose on clients...........

dut even busiess aspects aside....... mails r a means of communicaon........... emails that do nt folllow english r teh same astalking 2 a peronwho mubles n coughs affte every word........... both trnsmt teh message....... but being clear n pecise works better for you...........

dut i guess u know that already...........



What are you saying?



I hope people wrote well. Not because it would make the world better, but it would make my headache go away. I get a ton of mail, and after two levels of spam-filtering, I still have to reply to a few messages. This means that I must be able to read those messages, and understand the content. Easier said than done.

I have noticed this trend over some time now. Most mail to me from my peers is horribly written. It is either missing spelling, or grammar. In a lot of cases, it is missing English altogether. It is written in an SMS language, using acronyms that I haven't heard of, like gtg, btwn, cyl and gr8. If N wasn't around to explain some of these to me, I'd probably go insane. I love getting mails from friends, but I detest the throbbing headache some of these mails give me. I love the content, but the presentation is so abysmal that I dread going beyond the subject line. Combined with the fact that my mail program gives the entire screen to the message, there is no escape.

What am I complaining so much about? Here is a laundry list, but I'm sure you can add to them. I'm sure you, dear reader, get a lot of these mails as well.

  1. Lots of dots. Look, one dot is a sentence end. Three make ellipses, which indicates some sort of suspension, or omission. I love pavbhaji, chaat, idlivada,..., but I really should stop.
  2. Acronyms for simple things. What is gtg? Or gr8, or 2 in the middle of a sentence? If you are too lazy to type great instead of gr8, then perhaps that word should be omitted.
  3. Capitalization. Why? How hard is it to press on the shift key? The other extreme is WRITING IN FULL CAPS. Thankfully, most people don't do that. But still, capitalization is a good thing. It helps pull out the sentences. It helps tell Burns and burns apart.

I am not advocating putting on a formal dress, and talking like prissy English nobility here. All I'm asking for is to follow the rules, or at least enough of them to make the language easy for the reader.

After all, if your words are important enough to be read, then they're important enough to be written well. A poor writing style suggests two things to me.

  1. You do not think your reader's time is valuable. Writing poorly says that you're willing to trade your readers time for yours. It takes someone forever to read a poorly written message, and you think the tradeoff is worth it.
  2. You do not think your words are important enough to be read. If you could not spend the time writing them well, expressing your thoughts clearly, then perhaps your thoughts aren't of value? Your words are a representation of your thoughts.

A friend of mine, who runs a small company in Bombay, once complained about how terrible the email writing skill of the current crop of graduates was. He was shocked that these were people with a technical training (he does some computer consultancy), but could not write a single email that could be read. He said that even people working for him wrote such awful messages, that he was ashamed to let them loose on clients.

But even business aspects aside, mails are a means of communication. Emails that do not follow English are the same as talking to a person who mumbles and coughs after every word. Both transmit the message, but being clear and precise works better for you.

But I guess you know that already.